Boris Johnson won’t save the Tories

Are you sick of his self-obsession and self-aggrandising? Are you fed up with his disloyalty and destructiveness? Don’t you wish he’d just shut up and go away? No, no – not Prince Harry. I mean Boris Johnson.

At last, after nearly seven years, we have a prime minister who is neither a charlatan nor an ideological dogmatist. Whether or not you agree with Rishi Sunak’s politics, and despite his refusal to say if he sees a private GP, he seems relatively honest, diligent and mainstream. He has, thankfully, restored a degree of normality to the scarcely credible melodrama of recent British politics. Yet Johnson, like some unswattable mosquito at night, keeps buzzing around, threatening a faux-Churchillian comeback.

“Is Boris Johnson bouncing back towards No 10?”, the estimable Tim Shipman asks in the latest Sunday Times. “It’s bring back Boris or die… With Rishi in No 10, we are heading into the long, cold and brutal wasteland of thankless opposition,” the unctuous Nadine Dorries proclaims in the Mail on Sunday. “Brace yourself for a Boris Johnson comeback”, Paul Goodman, editor of the ConservativeHome website, warned in the Times last week.

On Tuesday evening the Great Lost Leader will address a Carlton Club dinner described by a Johnson supporter as “an opportunity to show that Boris hasn’t gone away”. The Times columnist Matthew Parris has reported rumours that Johnson might abandon his marginal Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency for the safe Tory seat of Derbyshire Dales.

Led by Peter Cruddas, the Tory donor whom Johnson ennobled against the advice of the House of Lords Appointments Commission, the former PM’s acolytes have launched the Conservative Democratic Organisation, a Tory equivalent of Labour’s Momentum that is designed to empower the party’s Johnson-adoring rank and file.

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